Howard Family Haunt

Henderson Halloween


Why don’t you post your address?
We’re happy to have our friends, neighbors and community visit our home while we have the works up and running, but we’ve found that a big portion of our “non neighbors” are disrespectful and sometimes damaging to our stuff.  For this reason we just assume not post our address for the world to see.  Send us an email with a little bit about yourself and we’ll send you the address.

Where do you buy all this stuff?
95% of our props and decorations are built & fabricated from scratch.  From our pillars and cemetery gates (plywood & PVC with faux paint) to our animatronic “Ghost Host” (plastic medical office skull with R/C car solenoids and hobby controller), it’s all built by us right here at home.  Interested in more about our home-made props??  Visit our Photos page, or ask us in person.  We’re happy to answer any questions and show you “Behind the Screams” stuff.

Why do you do this?
I’ve (Dad) always had a strange attraction towards haunted houses, Halloween and other spooky things.   As a child, we had a house in our neighborhood that decorated and set up spooky stuff.  Every year was something a little different, but always awesome. I couldn’t wait to see it every Halloween.  When my wife I moved into our house in 1997, we put out some simple decorations on Halloween night, and got a great response from the trick-or-treaters.  Each year we’ve added a little more, and gotten a little more high-tech.   I get a kick out of seeing what I can do, and what I can build next.  I love seeing people’s reactions to the things we create.

Where is the display located?
We’re located in Henderson Nevada near Gibson & Horizon Ridge.

What are your hours of operation?
We start putting our stuff out about 2 weeks before Halloween, and then we usually have it “going” from sunset until about 9pm each evening.  (After 9pm or so the props and effects are turned OFF, the easily stolen props are moved into the house… and the ugly bright anti-hoodlum lights are turned ON!)

What about security?
We have digital video surveillance year round at our home.  Owning our own computer company has it’s perks, so our house has high end IP cameras running 24/7 and logs over 30 days of video to a server array with over a terabyte of storage capacity.  We are running Axis Camera Station software, and have more than a half dozen cameras.  We always provide a live feed for at least 1 of our cameras on our web site each year for Halloween.  A note to our neighbors – Yes, we can “roll back” the video and provide you footage of things that happened on our street in case something happened (like vandalism) that you would like to see.  We install surveillance systems for homes and business and can provide you a quote for a $500 system up to thousands.  Give us a call!

Where do you store all of this stuff?
All of our goodies are stored in the attic, crawl spaces, the shed, etc.  Just about everything we build breaks down to small, storable pieces that can be tucked away nice and tidy.   (Yes, tearing stuff apart and assembling it again the next year sucks, and is extremely time consuming, but most of our stuff is way too big to put away “whole”)

How many people visit?
The week leading up to Halloween, we have lots of people drive by, school buses re-route their pickups to drive by the house, strange tour busses with odd looking passengers idle out front, and there’s over 500 trick or treaters on Halloween night each year.

How much does all of this cost?
Total yard display is in the tens of thousands in raw materials if it had to be replaced, and this of course doesn’t account for the obscene amount of time to build it all.  Most props are built by us using supplies available to everyone.  We average between $1500 and $3500 each year in materials, repairs, and new or revised items.  Because we make much of the display ourselves, our cost is way less than a retail equivalent.   Many of our props are electronically controlled, either by computer, pneumatics, motor, or a combination of all, so special hardware, speakers, lighting, etc., is needed to make it all go.   Just to run the house each Halloween costs us over a thousand dollars in fog fluid, zip ties, guide wire, electrical tape, paint, straw bales, new bulbs, screws, gaffer tape, staples, etc, and that’s assuming we didn’t build anything new.  You wouldn’t think it ends up costing so much, but my wallet can vouch for the damage.

When do you set-up/take-down?
We typically set-up the 2nd weekend before Halloween, but we start “staging” some of  our props in late August or September (Oh yes, my wife really loves this!), but everything is indoors until 10-14 days before.  Take down is always the day after Halloween.

How long does it take to set-up?
We actually tracked the time in 2007.  140 hours for total setup, which included roughly 50 hours for the party decor, and 89 hours to take it all down and pack it up.

How much fog juice do you use?
We go through 200 pounds of regular ice, and 2-3 gallons of fog juice per night.  We typically run the foggers 3 or 4 of the nights.  We use about 10-12 gallons of fog juice each year.

Ice??  What do you use ice for?
The fog, which is actually vaporized glycerin, is hot when it shoots out of the fogger, so if we don’t cool it, it rises, dissipates, and looks more like a garage fire than a graveyard.  To cool the fog, we pipe it through a chamber with ice suspended above on a stainless steel grate, which cools the fog, and keeps it close to the ground.  Lucky for us, Starbucks donates ice to us every year, saving us a nice chunk of change.  I think we actually spend more on tasty treats from Starbucks every year than we would have spent just buying ice, but hey, at least we’re enjoying it!

Do you work for Disney? or Are you a set designer?
We get asked that by several people every year.  The answer is “nope.”  Mom is a florist, dad is a computer tech.  We just have great imaginations and some good know-how.

Future Plans?
Someday, but not for several years, we will have the haunt go all the way around the house.  The work and money involved would be outrageous, so we’re not considering it just yet, but the control over lighting, sound, foot traffic, etc would make a haunt going into our back yard and around the house just amazing.   It’s a typical Sunday morning on the back patio conversation to talk about “Oh, and we could make a vaporous ghoulie fly out of the treehouse…”   We will eventually incorporate a Pepper’s Ghost display, a bottomless pit, falling ceiling, video effects and more. 

How can I help?
We’re glad you asked!!  You can help by visiting and enjoying our display, and telling us what a great job we did!  (Praise is a good thing!)  Bring me a cold beer while I’m out side fussing with the props.  Give us the thumbs up when you drive by.

  • Set-up – Help set up, move things around, paint, run wires, sweep, do an ice run (just take our tubs to Starbucks to get them filled) and just be a gopher.  If you have basic electrical knowledge, it is a plus to help wire the display.  For 2011, we’re having a “Setup Party” on Saturday October 22nd, followed by a carne asada BBQ that evening.  All friends & neighbors that are interested in donating a few hours of their time helping us out, please send us an email, or stop by and let us know you’d like to help. 

  • Take Down – We would love to have helping taking down and cleaning up the day after Halloween.  There’s lots of crap to carefully pack up.  Debris to sweep up, and lots of organizing, bundling, etc.  Give me an hour of your time on November 1st, and I’ll love you forever.

  • Building – Help with the building of props.  Believe it or not, we are building from about June on.  Typically weekends are spent woodworking, metalworking, and building.  Painting help is always needed. (Kids are great painters – Extra thick coats of black paint are PERFECT for our props)

  • Donations – Hmmm.  That’s a tough one.  I’ve kicked around the idea. of a donation box, or “selling” display time to businesses to try to recoup some of the tremendous cost of our haunt.  I would hate for someone to think we were trying to make money at it, or for them to feel not welcome if they chose not to donate, so we’ve opted not to put anything out there for donations.   UPDATE:  We put out a donation box for 2010 and got a few bucks in donations.   Not sure if we will do this again.

How’s the October weather in Las Vegas?
Good question!  Click HERE for web page with a schedule of sunrise/sunset times and average high & low temperatures for our area.